Thoughts from Chris Knapp, District 6000 Governor Elect
What a fantastic day! The weather was cool and the sky clear.
We arrived at the hospital shortly before 8:00 am. As we walked up to the entrance of the hospital, we began to walk through a crowd of men, women and children. There must have been 20 or more families waiting outside the entrance of the hospital and many of them had been patiently waiting since the wee hours of the morning. As we walked through the doors we walked through another 20 or more families already standing and sitting
inside registering and waiting to register for care evaluation by the Iowa MOST team.
Many of the children waiting with their families had some sort of cleft deformity. Some families were there to have our team examine their progress from last year’s surgeries. Many of our team members commented that the smiles we saw today on these beautiful young faces were the result of last year’s work.
There were two families that had made the trip from villages several miles and hours away from Huehuetenago to merely come and thank the doctors and staff for the surgeries that had changed their childrens’ lives from being socially ostracized and suffering from poor health to the lives of healthy, happy children.
From 8:00 to 2:00, patients were registered and screened for possible medical treatment. The treatment might be all inclusive dental and cleft surgery or merely dental extractions. Each patient was assessed by a nursing team, surgeon, anesthesiologist, dentist and pediatrician. The doctors and nurses would then consult and determine if the patient,
child or adult, could be properly treated by Iowa MOST now or in the future or maybe not at all. Some patients fell outside the scope of the MOST mission and were referred to other medical professionals.
The most amazing observation of the day for me was how the children, parents and grandparents behaved during the day. You never heard a voice raised in anger nor complaints of the wait to be seen by a doctor. What made this more amazing is that many of the families had traveled for one, two or three days by car, bus or foot to come to the hospital. All came with hope in their hearts to be seen and treated by the MOST team and have their physical health challenges made better.
The people of Guatemala are an amazingly warm and wonderful people who are ever grateful for being alive and being among their family and community. They are a wonderful people to serve.